Beauty Supplements

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We have each received a variety of gifts. First Corinthians 7:7 says that as a single woman, I have received the charisma of singleness. First Corinthians 12:4-10 lists other gifts that I may also receive. I may yet one day receive the gift of marriage. However, two things are important to remember about any spiritual gift:

  • “All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills” (1 Cor. 12:11);
  • “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Cor. 12:7).

Let’s look at the first point. God apportions gifts as He sees fit in His infinite and sovereign wisdom. Here Paul is returning again to the point he raised in chapter 7. God gives us our assignment, and He calls us to the task. Here now we see that He apportions gifts to each of us to accomplish these purposes.

Do you see God’s will at work here? Ultimately, we are single because that’s God’s will for us right now. That’s it. It’s not because we are too old, too fat, too skinny, too tall, too short, too quiet, too loud, too smart, too simple, too demanding, or too anything else. It’s not wholly because of past failures or sin tendencies. It’s not because we’re of one race when many of the men around us are of another. It’s not because the men we know lean toward passive temperaments. It’s not because there are more women than men in our singles group. It’s not because our church doesn’t even have a singles group. Though perhaps these things seem like valid reasons, they don’t trump God’s will. One look at the marriages we know or the ones announced in the newspaper will assure us that these factors are present in many people’s lives, and they still got married. We are single today because God apportioned us this gift today.

One more thought: I’ve often heard married people say to singles that we won’t get married until we’re content in our singleness, but I humbly submit this is error. I’m sure that it is offered by well-meaning couples who want to see their single friends happy and content in God’s provision, but it creates a works-based mentality to receiving gifts, which can lead to condemnation. The Lord doesn’t require that we attain a particular state before He grants a gift. We can’t earn any particular spiritual gift any more than we can earn our own salvation. It’s all of grace. However, we should humbly listen to our friends and receive their input about cultivating contentment; we just shouldn’t attach it to the expectation of a blessing.

~Carolyn McCulley in Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye?

Photo: OBMonkey

Beauty Supplements

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Why is knowing God and embracing His sovereignty so important when we’re single? We have to keep in mind that we’ve received this gift of singleness from the pierced hand of the One who bore all of our sins–from unbelief as singles to selfishness as marrieds. We can be like Peter who initially rebuked Jesus for His humiliating, yet glorious, plan of redemption–or we can be like Mary, who came to accept His plan and purposes, and demonstrated it in the costly outpouring of perfume in anticipation of his burial. Confident of the Lord’s good plan for our lives, we can emulate Mary and spend our treasures (youth, dreams, desires) to further His purposes on this earth.

More importantly, when we are almost faint under the strain and worry of wondering if singleness is to be forever, we need to be reminded that there is an end to singleness: One day we will be at the wedding feast of the Lamb and we will be His bride. Even if we receive the gift of marriage on this side of heaven, that’s not our ultimate goal. It is a shadow and a type of what is planned for eternity and, like all things on this earth, it will have its conclusion in death. Our Father knows the time when earthly gifts will be distributed and when they will be no more; He knows, as well, when the heavenly wedding feast will commence. We can blissfully rest in the knowledge that the future is better than anything we think we’ve missed now: Jesus is preparing us for the eternal rewards and eternal joys of a future He’s told us is too inexpressible for us to understand. For His purposes, and within His covenant to always do us good (Jeremiah 33:40), He has declared for us that being single now and into the foreseeable future is His very best. He desires that we overflow with hope as we trust in him (Romans 15:13) and his sovereignty in this season–redefining hope from hoping in a particular gift from God to trusting the God of hope unreservedly.

~Carolyn McCulley in “The God Who Knows the End of Your Singleness

Photo: OBMonkey

The Savior’s Singleness

“Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.”

Psalm 73:25

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of taking a road trip to Florida with two of my friends to attend a wedding. During the 11+ hours of driving to and from, we enjoyed catching up on Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s current Revive Our Hearts series, The Incomparable Christ. If you haven’t yet heard this program, I strongly encourage you to become a regular listener. Nancy’s rich biblical teaching continually challenges and motivates me to draw near to Christ and share His love with others, and I know it will do the same for you.

As Nancy taught on “The Earthly Occupation of Christ,” she touched on a subject I don’t often consider–the singleness of Christ. Whether single or married, we all have lessons to learn from Christ’s example of trusting God to care for His every earthly need…

Jesus never experienced the companionship of a wife. Through all of the challenges of work and ministry, through all His testings and trials, He never knew the comfort, the encouragement, and support that having a mate might have provided. Furthermore, He never knew the blessing of having children of His own. The children He loved were other people’s children. You say, “Well, He was God, so He didn’t need marriage; He didn’t need children.” Well, the fact is He was also fully human. He was a man. He had normal, human desires and longings. Scripture reminds us that in every respect, He was “tempted as we are” (Hebrews 4:15). Yet He was without sin.

As we look at Jesus, we have to assume that He had natural human longings, but He did not make idols out of His longings. He did not allow His natural desires to become demands. We know that He went to weddings. We know that He went to parties, to dinners, to feasts. We know that He saw His friends and His peers enjoying first the gift of marriage and then the gift of children. But we also know that He never gave in to self-pity. He never resented God, His Heavenly Father, for withholding those gifts from Him.

We know that He remained morally chaste through His young adult years, into His 30s, trusting His Father to meet His needs, even (dare I say it), sexual needs. That may sound a little disrespectful to talk about Jesus with sexual desires. I’ll just say this: I don’t know all the mysteries of this, but I know He was a sexual being. He was a man, and He trusted His Father to meet all the needs—for companionship, for friendship, for fulfillment of human desires. He did not chafe at His single status, but He fully embraced and delighted in the will and the calling of God for His life and all that it entailed, and for Jesus, that meant being single.

For Jesus embracing God’s calling in His life—singleness—was both an act of submission to the will of the Father, as well as a selfless act of love for those He came to serve—that’s us. He was willing to forfeit many of the normal, good pleasures—holy pleasures—that most people enjoy, in order to redeem us from our sin.  He knew that His life on this earth would be short and that He would have all eternity to savor the fullness of joy and the pleasures to be found at the right hand of His Father. So He could pay the price here. He knew the joy that was set before Him, so He endured. He endured not only the physical cross, the suffering of the crucifixion and all that entailed, but other kinds of crosses along the way, including perhaps this whole area of singleness. Might that have been a cross for Him as it is for some in this room?

Whether you’re single or not, there are times when you just feel so very alone, so needing to have someone enter into your heart and share your deepest needs and longings. I found myself within the last few weeks facing some fairly heavy challenges in this ministry. They’re not bad. They’re just hard. And there have been some moments when I felt really, really alone. I wished for someone to carry the burden with me…Now, I’m telling you this not to get you to feel sorry for me. I’m telling you this because I want you to know that in those moments of loneliness and feeling of need, I’m reminded, as I’ve been working on this series, that I have a Savior who understands, who has walked that path before me and walks it with me. He has been there. He is incomparable. There is nobody like Him.

So, lonely friend, single sister, struggling mom, let me just encourage you to receive the love of your Heavenly Father, to embrace His will and His calling for this (and every) season of your life, let Him sustain you by His grace. Trust Him for those unfulfilled longings. Pour out your life for others. And remember that this life is oh so short. So set your sights on that Day when every tear will be dried and every hope and longing will be fulfilled as we are united with Christ, our beloved Bridegroom, for all eternity. It’s worth the wait.

Photo: Christer Rønning Austad

Beauty Supplements

Your daily dose of true beauty advice…

Incompleteness is not the result of being single, but of not being full of Jesus. Only through the process of reckless abandonment to Jesus does any woman ever finally understand that, in Him, she is complete… A woman not complete in Jesus will be a drain on her husband. Such a woman will expect her husband to fill the gap that only Jesus can fill. Only the single woman who understands this means of being complete in Jesus is mature enough to be a helpmeet (complement). “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ…” (Col. 2:9-10 NIV). Are you feeling full yet? Ask the Lord right now to begin this process of revealing to your heart the reality of your fullness in Him. “But it is good for me to draw near to God…” (Ps. 73:28a KJV).

~Debby Jones & Jackie Kendall in Lady in Waiting

Photo: OBMonkey